For four seasons America tuned in to Lincoln Heights to see the ups and downs of a middle class black family. Within that family was a young man with undeniable talent named Taylor Sutton, portrayed by Mishon Ratliff. A budding R&B singer, Mishon has since traded in his childhood acting days to take on the music industry. Armed with a new deal with Columbia Records and Jermaine Dupri as his executive producer, Mishon recently sat down with us at a press junket at So So Def studios to let the world know how he is bringing real music back to a young generation.
The room is filled with press, with writers from from AllHipHop.com, Sister 2 Sister Magazine, The Associated Press and more in the building. Legendary producer/executive Jermaine Dupri sits at the mixing console, while Grammy Award-winning producer Bryan Michael Cox paces around the studio on what seems to be a very important phone call. Then there’s Mishon. He is much taller than Lincoln Heights fans remember Tae Sutton; Mishon stands off to the side with a look of confidence and anxiousness. He has just spent a week working with Dupri and Cox on his Columbia Records debut. Together they played five records that not only showed the vocal prowess of Mishon, but also showed that he could successfully pull off mature content far beyond his 20 years on earth.
Speaking on being paired with Mishon, Jermaine Dupri realized how bad he truly wanted to work with the singer after completing their second song. According to Bryan Michael Cox, “[Mishon is] somebody special. After we did the first song, [Jermaine] pulled me to the side and was like ‘Yo! The lil n**** can sing…yo we could do his whole album.’” It was quite obvious that Columbia Records felt the same way, as they’ve tapped Dupri to be the executive producer of the project.
As for Jermaine Dupri, he truly believes that Mishon will bridge the gap between the older and younger generations of R&B fans. His content and voice bring nostalgic feelings of R&B’s glory days, but they don’t sound dated. Mishon himself beams at the idea of working with Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox. During the junket he could barely contain himself. He was dancing around the studio during the playing of the songs, and singing as loudly as he could. When you speak to Mishon, you’re not speaking to the typical artist of today. You’re speaking to a musician, who truly appreciates the crafts of singing, songwriting and producing. Mishon has a mission to have R&B taken seriously in the mainstream once again without compromising the art. Armed with weapons like Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox, I’d say the mission is definitely possible.
– Nick Eden